Some of you, it seems, felt blindsided by the news last week that I was doing a triathlon this past weekend. I mean, how did you not know that I was doing the IronGirl Syracuse?
I've only been talking about it constantly for the past 6 months!
Oh. I wasn't? Really?
Well, maybe once...way back when I originally signed up. I think that I may have briefly mentioned it a few other times along the way, but in all honesty, I talked more about the Celebration Triathlon. The top two reasons why I talked more about Celebration than IronGirl: 1) I was terrified of the Celebration Triathlon, 2) IronGirl happens to have fallen during a time when my life is occurring more aggressively than my training is.
Did I mention that I'm remodeling my kitchen?
Can you believe that yesterday I came home to this?
The point is that my main focus for IronGirl was to do another race with My Sista and my cousin, have as much fun as possible, and just finish. The only way for me to have fun was to relax about it. Although it works for some people, competition and agony are just not fun for me.
Race day started for us on Saturday at 4:30AM. I was not very impressed by this fact, since Friday night included a trip to the hometown bar to see My Sista's boyfriend's band play. My Brotha is also in the band, and when I hang out with My Brotha and My Sista together, I always feel like they received every bit of "badass" that my parents were capable of replicating.
There was apparently just not enough badass to be split among the three of us, so while they run fast and are musical geniuses, I'm just a really awesome scrapbooker.
Yeah. Middle child syndrome. It clearly exists.
Anyway. Although that trip to the bar was supposed to only include one Budweiser Select 55, I accidentally drank two. Then, although we were supposed to leave the bar around 11PM, we didn't leave until 12AM. So, even though we were supposed to get a solid 5 hours of sleep, we only got 4. And, although we were supposed to sleep well that night, neither one of us did.
We woke up and drove to Oneida Shores Park for the race anyway.
Everything seemed to move along quickly after we got to the park. I felt like as soon a we got there, the announcer was telling us that the transition area would close in 30 minutes. I felt a little rushed, but I didn't let it geek me out.
The transition area was closed around 6:45, and I forced everyone to take pictures until the first wave left at 7:00AM.
I think that My Sista was questioning her decision to hang out with me at this point.
Don't let that "OMG...you're SO adopted" look fool you. She thinks I'm awesome.
Then, we watched the first wave make their way around the swim course, and scoped out the strategy.
My strategy: don't drown.
(p.s...prior to copious amounts of cropping, my ass was the main feature in that picture. Your welcome.)
Going into this race, I thought that the swim was going to be a piece of cake. It was about 1/2 the distance that I had to do for the Celebration Triathlon, and the only thing that made me nervous leading up to this swim was the fact that the lake was apparently overrun by zebra mussels. The race officials allowed swim socks or duct taped feet in order to protect the bottoms of your feet in case you step on any zebra mussels. Of course, I decided to skip both the swim socks and the duct tape because I like to live on the edge.
When the quacking duck sounded for my wave to leave, I quickly realized that I was going to have a problem with this swim. The water is so shallow that I literally could've walked the entire swim. Considering the fact that I am already pretty freaked out about open water and I hate seaweed (please do scroll up and read the link to my Celebration Triathlon for the full report), this was not the swim for me.
As soon as I put my face in the water the first time and tried to swim, I panicked. Like, full on shark attack panic. I actually considered getting out of the water and quitting. Coupled with the fact that I was already freaked out about zebra mussels, seeing everything that was going on at the bottom of the lake was too much for my frail mind. Whereas some people are freaked out about NOT being able to see the bottom of the lake, I am very much of the "what I don't know won't hurt me" school of thought.
The swim took me forever. I was freaking out. All I knew at the time was that I had to get the swim done and over with so that I could move on. All I know now is that I need more open water practice. Oh yeah, and that I basically came in last place in my wave for the swim.
(insert hysterical laughter from this girl)
Transition 1 took me 5:24. That might seem like a long time to you, but to me, anything was an improvement over the 9:22 that it took me in T1 at the Celebration Triathlon.
(i repeat...insert hysterical laughter from this girl)
I was actually very excited for the bike portion of the race. Although I didn't do the course beforehand, My Sista told me that it was a really nice ride, full of gentle rolling hills. I love the word "gentle" when it is in front of the words "rolling hills". I maintained almost a 17 mph pace average for the 18.6 mile bike course, and I really really enjoyed it. I love cycling.
When I finished the bike, my legs were really tired and felt sort of gelatinous. My saving grace was that I knew that the 3.1 mile run was basically flat, and it was an out and back. Something about an out and back makes me really feel relieved. I like having a clearly denoted 1/2 way point. I proudly put on my "i jog" t-shirt, and decided to jog my way to the end of the IronGirl.
I hope that somewhere in the official race pix there is a good pic of me donning this shirt because it is my favorite. I received so many smiles, nods and positive comments about my shirt during the run that it was impossible to not have fun with it. I finished the run in 36:53 (11:53/mile pace), which I was pretty happy with, considering that I'm lucky if I can average that pace without first swimming 600 meters and biking 18.6 miles.
(i repeat...insert hysterical laughter from this girl)
My official race time was 2:07:45, and I'll take it. I had a ton of fun, and IronGirl is a very positive, uplifting race to do. I pretty much smiled the entire time. I mean...except for that brief part when I was too busy trying not to drown.
Driving home from New York yesterday, I had many miles of construction and one lane traffic to reflect upon the race, the past 2 years of races, and what the future holds. With the knowledge that I had just completed my last race of the year, the only thing that I wanted to do yesterday was run. I keep thinking about how much I love running in the fall, and how sad it is that I'm going to miss the fall racing season. It's amazing how the grass is always greener, eh?
But, I'm getting married in 2.5 months (wow...), we're remodeling the kitchen, and I need to get my home life in order (read: unpack my Qtips and mustache bleach).
I've developed sort of a love/hate relationship with running at this point. Maybe after some time apart and no pressure to compete, I'll fall in love with it again.
Or maybe I'll just scrapbook instead.